VeriSign falls despite impressive 3Q results

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VeriSign shares lost $14.75, or 10 percent, to $132.69 Thursday, one day after it beat the Street estimate by 12 cents a share in its third quarter.

In the quarter, it earned $38.4 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $173.1 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expected it to earn 6 cents a share in the quarter.

The $173.1 million in sales marks a 660 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $1.6 million, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $22.8 million.

"We''re very pleased with our third quarter results as we believe they demonstrate the power of our end-to-end service offering," said CEO Stratton Sclavos in a prepared release.

In the quarter, VeriSign sold more than 75,000 security certificates, up 140 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Its registry services group, created after its acquisition of Networks Solutions, added another 5.1 million new domain names in the quarter and renewed of extended another 650,000 domain names.

It now boasts more than 24.2 million active domain names in its database, representing a 259 percent jump from the year-ago quarter.

Last quarter, VeriSign href="http://www.zdii.com/industry_list.asp?mode=news&doc_id=ZE504994&pic=Y">raked in $10.3 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $70.3 million.

Separately, the company announced it had acquired GreatDomains.com, a provider of services in the secondary domain name market. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

VeriSign shares moved up to a 52-week high of $258.50 in March after falling to a low of $54.63 last October.

Twenty-three of the 24 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

Analysts expect it to earn 23 cents a share in the fiscal year.